SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake will continue its 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run on Wednesday, when it will host 2011 NASL Regular Season Champions the Carolina RailHawks in the Quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Carolina advanced to the Quarters by beating Chivas USA 3-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park in the fourth-round on June 12, getting two extra time goals from midfielder Cesar Elizondo and forward Brian Ackley in the 92nd and 98th minute. The RailHawks defeated the LA Galaxy 2-0 in the third-round on May 29, downing the back-to-back MLS Cup champs for the second-straight year.
Carolina is making its deepest US Open Cup run since its inaugural season in 2007, when the club reached the Semifinals. Since then, the club has gone to the second-round twice in 2009 and 2010, the third-round once in 2008 and the fourth-round once in 2012. In the 2012 campaign, RailHawks forward Brian Shriver led the competition in goals with five in just three matches.
Carolina Head Coach Colin Clarke is in his second season with the club after a successful coaching career in Major League Soccer. The former Northern Ireland international began his coaching career in 1998 as the head man with the Richmond Kickers, amassing a 38-18 record over two seasons. During the 2003 MLS season, Clarke took over as the head coach of the Dallas Burn (later named FC Dallas) and managed a MLS Supporters’ Shield runner-up spot in 2006. From 2007-2011, he was the head coach of the NASL’s Puerto Rico Islanders, leading the squad to a historic run to the Semifinals of the 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League before losing in penalty kicks against Cruz Azul.
Three of Carolina’s more notable players are Austin da Luz, Greg Shields and Julius James. Prior to joining the club in 2012, da Luz was drafted in the first round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft by New York Red Bulls, appearing in seven matches and scoring a goal before being traded to D.C. United. Defender and assistant coach Shields has a pedigree in European soccer that includes spells with Rangers, Charlton Athletic and Kilmarnock, including making his debut for the Scottish giants in a UEFA Champions League game against Ajax in 1996. Fellow defender James enjoyed a career in MLS that included stays at Toronto FC, Houston Dynamo, D.C. United and Columbus Crew. The 28-year-old made his debut for the Ohio side in the second leg of the Quarterfinals in the 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League against Real Salt Lake.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Enzo Martinez has a tie to Carolina. The 22-year-old was sent on a short term loan to the RailHawks earlier in the year, playing in three games while coming off of the bench and totaling 74 minutes played. The stint in the second-division side saw the former North Carolina Tar Heel score in the 84th minute of his Carolina debut against Minnesota United FC on May 4.
Carolina has gotten off to a strong start in NASL play, currently sitting in first place with a record of 5-4-1 and 19 points. Carolina won its last match, getting a first half penalty kick goal from former Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Floyd Franks and two goals in the last four minutes from Brian Shriver to beat Minnesota 3-2.
The RailHawks make its maiden voyage to Utah June 26 for the Semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup. Tickets for the June 26 U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal Match are on sale now at the Rio Tinto Stadium box offices, at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or over the phone at 801-727-2700. While the Carolina #USOC100 match is NOT included in the Real Salt Lake 2013 season ticket package, RSL “PRIDE” Season Ticket Holders can secure their seat location (IF available), and can also purchase additional seats to the match for a preferred price. Visit www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets for more detailed pricing for tickets to the match.